tv PBS News Hour PBS December 22, 2016 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> sreenivasan: and i'm hari sreenivasan. >> woodruff: on the newshour tonight, behind the hack: still more evidence that russian military intelligence was behind the email breach at the democratic national committee this year. >> sreenivasan: also ahead this thursday, the public face of the trump presidency: the r.n.c.'s sean spicer is tapped to be press secretary as the president-elect announces his communications team. >> woodruff: plus, what to expect from washington, d.c.,'s new rules for paid family leave. taking on the economic challenges of having a child. >> it's really an impossible choice that families face: do i stay here and hold my baby's hand? do i go to work and keep the roof over our heads? >> sreenivasan: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour.
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of aleppo. the syrian army announced tonight it's now in full control of the eastern half of the city, where rebels had ruled for four years. the last rebel fighters and civilians left aleppo today, moving through heavy snow and wind before the military declared victory. >> ( translated ): by virtue of the pious blood of our martyrs, we declare the return of security and safety to the city of aleppo. this is a crushing blow against the terror project and its backers. it is the starting point of a new phase to drive out terror from all the lands of the syrian arab republic. >> woodruff: at least 34,000 people streamed out of aleppo since last week. it marks the biggest victory of the civil war so far for president bashar al-assad. >> sreenivasan: in the day's other news, a memorial ceremony in moscow honored andrei karlov, russia's slain ambassador to turkey who was gunned down monday. the killer shouted slogans about the plight of aleppo. president vladimir putin was
among the mourners who paid respects today at the russian foreign ministry building. he promised retribution for karlov's assassination. >> woodruff: still no sign tonight of the tunisian man wanted in monday's massacre in berlin, germany. a manhunt is under way for the killer who plowed a truck into a crowded christmas market, killing 12. rohit kachroo of independent television news, reports from berlin. >> reporter: he's in hiding on his 24th birthday, but anis amri is embarrassing german intelligence. today, we learned they had intercepted old messages in which he offered to become a suicide bomber. bomber. police raided homes across germany, and yet still no sign. attempts to arrest him for a fourth and perhaps final time this year have been complicated by his 36-hour head start. though officers did question
several people, four taken away in dortmant. he left his i.d. card. he left his dna, too. chancellor merkel said the suspect is with high probability the perpetrator. in the driving cabin, fingerprints were found and there is additional evidence that supports this. investigator have traveled to tunisia where anis amri's heart-broken family say h he must be innocent. if my brother is listening to me, i want to tell him to surrender, even for our families. we will be relieved. we don't do such things. everyone knows our reputation here. at the christmas market in berlin, a sort of normality
returned, except this isn't normal. concrete blocks were put up as the shutters went up for the first time since monday night. >> woodruff: we'll take a closer look at questions about german security measures, later in the program. >> sreenivasan: the u.n. security council has put off a vote on condemning israel's settlement-building, indefinitely. egypt pulled back its proposed resolution today, after israel strongly objected. israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu also pressed the united states to use its veto. president-elect trump issued his own statement, saying: "peace will only come through direct negotiations... not through the imposition of terms by the united nations." >> woodruff: the president-elect tweeted today about two major defense issues as well. he said the u.s. must greatly expand its nuclear weapons capability, until, in his words, "the world comes to its senses." and he asked boeing for the price of buying more f-18 super hornet fighters. he cited what he called the
"tremendous cost" of lockheed martin's f-35. also today: kellyanne conway was named white house counselor, and sean spicer was named white house press secretary. we'll return later to the prospects for press relations with the trump white house. >> sreenivasan: state lawmakers in north carolina were back home today, after an effort to repeal the so-called "bathroom law" ended in stalemate. the law bars legal protections based on sexual orientation. and, it requires that transgender people use bathrooms conforming with their sex at birth. opponents of the law are expected to raise repeal again, next year. >> woodruff: officials in southern japan are going to destroy another 120,000 chickens, in a spreading bird flu outbreak. today's announcement came just days after 200,000 birds were gassed at a farm in northern japan. south korea has culled 20 million birds since it reported an outbreak last month. >> sreenivasan: just days before
christmas, it's nearly warm enough at the north pole to melt ice, thanks to a surge of warm air. air temperatures there were 32 degrees today, when it's typically 20 below. worldwide, this year is set to be the warmest on record. the arctic region is warming at twice the global average. >> woodruff: and another sluggish day on wall street: the dow jones industrial average lost 23 points to close below 19,919. the nasdaq fell 24 points, and the s&p 500 slipped four. >> sreenivasan: still to come on the newshour: evidence the russian military hacked the democratic party. as a manhunt continues across europe, a look at germany's security measures. the latest on the president- elect's new team, and much more. >> woodruff: the c.i.a. and other u.s. intelligence agencies
have concluded russia was behind the hack of the democratic national committee and other political organizations, but are yet to produce their evidence publicly. today, the private cyber security company that first uncovered the d.n.c. hack unveiled new details they claim confirm russian military intelligence service was behind the computer breach. here to explain all of this is dmitri alperovitch, the co- founder of crowdstrike, the company that found the computer code. and thomas rid is a professor at kings college london. his latest book is "rise of the machines: a cybernetic history." and we welcome both of you to the "newshour". dmitri alperovitch, let me start with you. what is this new information? >> this is an interesting case we've uncovered actually all the way in ukraine where ukraine artillerymen were targeted by
fancy bear, the target of the d.n.c., but this time they were targeting their cell phones to understand their location to the russian artillery forces can target them in the open battle. >> woodruff: this is russian military intelligence who got hold of information about the weapons, in essence, that the ukrainian military was using, and was able to change it through malware? >> yes, essentially one ukraine officer built this app for his android phone that he gave out to his fellow officers to control the settings for the artillery pieces they were using, and the russians actually hacked that application, put their malware in it and the malware reported back the location of the person using the phone. >> woodruff: what's the connection between that and what happened to the democratic national committee? >> it was the same variant of the same accomplishes code we've seen at the d.n.c. the phone version we saw at the d.n.c. was personal computers but it was the same source used by the actor called fancy bear.
you think who would be interested in target gitting artillerymen in ukraine and hacking the democratic national committee, russia comes to find. but russianilitary has operational forces in the ukraine and would target. >> woodruff: cyberfingerprints? >> essentially the dna of this accomplishes code that matches to the dna we saw at the d.n.c. >> woodruff: thomas rid, to you in london, as you read and understand this new information, what do you make of it and how do you see it? >> well, the important piece, i think, is that we're looking at only one piece in a larger puzzle which crowdstrike has discovered. one piece of a larger picture, and the picture is rich. we know how they choose their targets and we know thousands of their targets even by individual names. we know how they get in, move around, and take permission out, we know the infrastructure, the flight card they used to take the information out, and i think
we're approaching the point where the evidence is so rich that there are only two reasons not to accept it -- one, because you don't understand the technical details because you don't have to skills, or because you don't want to understand it for political reasons. >> woodruff: well, you do have the technical expertise. does it hold up for you? >> yes. you know, what i do is i look at specific cases and i drill down and zoom into the details of the picture and look at that detail. so we can often link specific cases like the one that dmitri was just describing to another case because the tool set that they're using is the same, really like the tool of the burglar that breaks into one building and uses the same or a comparable tool in another building. so one thing that i'm, for instance, interested in and that i focused on is how they broke into the german parliament and that we can link that to the d.n.c. and, indeed, we can also link those two cases, so the
evidence is really strong that we have at this point. >point. >> woodruff: so the evidence is really strong. are you saying there is just no doubt about it, at this point? >> among people who studied the true forensic evidence, among people who do infinite response, the vast majority of the community -- and bear in mind this is an entire profession trained to do digital investigations -- most people in that profession really accept the evidence that we have, it's really not controversial anymore that we're looking at a major russian campaign. keep in mind, this has been going on for many years. this particular act, we watched them for eight years, and in the last year they made quite a few mistakes that revealed themselves. >> woodruff: dmitri alperovitch, we pointed out earlier your company is the one who uncovered this in the first place, you were working for the democratic national committee. are you still doing work for them? >> we're protecting them going forward. the investigation is closed in terms of what happened there,
but certainly we've seen the campaigns, political organizations have been targeted and they continue to hire us and use our technology to protect themselves. >> woodruff: i ask you that because if there is a question of conflict of interest, how do you answer that? >> this report was not about the d.n.c. this report was about information we uncovered about the russian locating the artillery units of the ukrainian army and targeting them. we said it looks exactly as the same evidence we already uncovered from the d.n.c., linking the two together. >> woodruff: so if there's still someone out there like the president-elect or others who support him to say we just don't believe this, we don't think it's been proven, we haven't seen the c.i.a. and the f.b.i.'s information, what's your response to that? >> i think it's legitimate to ask questions and this is the reason we want to produce more evidence to raise the level of confidence we have internally that this is russian intelligence called the g.r.u. i hope the report that comes out
by president obama will be made public so everyone can make their own judgment. >> woodruff: thomas rid, what more would a skeptic need to see in order to erase all doubt? >> of course, we can always see more evidence and look for more details, for instance on specific names of operators, and we know that, you know, some intelligence agencies in the united states seem to have that information. but let's keep something in mind. what this russian operation is trying to achieve at this point is to drive a wedge between the president-elect, between the next administration and the intelligence community. so far, if you see that as part of the operation, they have been spectacularly successful. so releasing more evidence and then having critics possibly from the president-elect say, well, that's not good enough, that is exactly the outcome they want because it introduces friction inside the security
establishment in washington. >> woodruff: dmitri, is that what you see as well? >> i think it's important to bring out the evidence. some people have legitimate questions about this. it's important for the u.s. government to tell us what they know because they have access to intelligence and methods we're not privy to as a private security company. so i think it's important to know what happened in the most consequential act we've seen. >> woodruff: we have no way of knowing what they will do. we'll continue to watch it closely, dmitri alperovitch, professor thomas rid, we thank you both. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: anis amri, the man suspected of carrying out monday's attack on a berlin christmas market was well known to german authorities. he was under surveillance for six months this year and was slated for deportation, but his home country of tunisia refused to accept him. joining me now for more on how
amri allegedly was allowed to pull off this attack is peter neumann, founder and director of the international center for the study of radicalization and political violence. he joins us tonight from munich. what's the latest in the investigation? >> well, the latest is that they are still trying to track down where exactly he is right now, and they are conducting raids on different places that are connected to the jihadist scene. it is now known that he was part of a wired network of jihadists in germany, and they are raiding different places that they seem to be believing that they are connected to the scene. >> sreenivasan: tell me, how is it possible the german authorities not just had this person on the radar but were scheduling him for deportation, how did it get this far? how did they miss the signs? >> so there are a couple of things. the first thing is capacity. there are around 550 jihadists
in germany who are believed to be potential terrorists. in order to surveil a single person 24 hours a day, you need about 20 officials. it's not possible. so, you know, authorities need to make judgment calls all the time. who do they consider to be acutely dangerous and who do they consider to be less dangerous and this one may have fallen through the net. the second is federalism. police and intelligence services are essentially on a state-by-state ba basis, and ths guy traveled from a lot of different states to different states and some of the information may have slipped through the cracks. >> sreenivasan: what about the possibility he was radicalized in an italian prison? that's something one of his brothers said. >> yes, he was in an italian prison about four years, and may well be he was radicalized there. he went further up north to
germany afterwards. he shouldn't have been able to do that because he was claiming asylum in germany, and coming from italy, that claim should have been refused immediately. so basically, the whole system has failed. i think it's all down to the fact that germany is not really used to being the target of terrorist attacks. it's a little bit like america before 9/11. germans are quite naive still about terrorism. we haven't been confronted with the kind of terrorist attacks other countries have been confronted with, and the whole system has not been geared up to confront this kind of threat. >> sreenivasan: post 9/11, the american system geared up, to use your phrase. how does germany's sensitive history with the surveillance state play into all of this? >> that's a good point. after the end of the second world war, germans before
reeducated to be against surveillance and be pacifists. they succeeded. that means that when being confronted with this kind of threat, a lot of reactions by politicians but also by society are very much against kind of confronting this threat head on. i very much hope that after this incident the pendulum doesn't swing entirely the other way, but that we are able to have a reasonable debate about what kind of measures are really necessary to confront this rather than staying one side or the other. >> sreenivasan: do you see changes happening in the interest of public safety that's swinging the pendulum? >> i think there is a lot of debate right now. a lot of people are very unhappy with how the authorities have dealt with this case. there is a sense of real outrage, and there is a sense that the system isn't working
and that we really knead to think about how to make this work. i believe it's necessary to basically have something like the 9/11 commission you had in america after 9/11 that basically goes through i've aaspect of government policy and says this works, this doesn't work, and how do we construct a comp hencive counterterrorism strategy? we don't have that in germany right now. we don't have a counterterrorism strategy. we have a lot of authorities working on different things. we need a comprehensive thing, and i hope that's what's going to come out of this. >> sreenivasan: all right, peter neumann, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you. >> woodruff: psident-elect donald trump continued to round out his white house team today, tapping two of his key campaign advisers to senior west wing
positions. she's been one of donald trump's most visible advisers since taking over as campaign manager last summer. today, the president-elect named kellyanne conway to be white house counselor. he followed that, with word that sean spicer will serve as white house press secretary. spicer had been communications director for the republican national committee for five years. last month, he moved over to become chief spokesman for the trump transition. now, spicer, along with jason miller and hope hicks, will handle relations with the news media, and that could be a tall order. >> the people back there, the extremely dishonest press. >> woodruff: as candidate and president-elect, mr. trump has called out reporters in general, and at times, by name, like nbc's katy tur. >> they're not reporting it. katy, you're not reporting it, katy. >> woodruff: last month, he
retweeted attacks directed on cnn's jeff zeleny, after the correspondent reported on mr. trump's unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. and during the campaign, the trump team at times barred "the washington post," univision, politico and buzzfeed from its rallies. reince priebus, the incoming chief of staff, is signaling changes could be ahead for the white house press corps. >> even looking at things like the daily white house briefing from the press secretary, i mean, there's a lot of different ways that things can be done, and i can assure you we're looking at that. >> woodruff: still, kellyanne conway promised today there will be plenty of access. >> this will be a traditional white house in the sense that you will have a great deal of press availability on a daily basis and you'll have a president who continues to be engaged with the press. >> woodruff: the president-elect has met with reporters off-the- record since the election. he has not held a news conference since late july. for more on this, we're joined now by brian stelter.
he's senior media correspondent for cnn, and jeff mason. he's a white house correspondent for reuters, and president of the white house correspondents' association. welcome to both of you. jeff mason, to you first, based on what you've seen of donald trump so far, both the campaign and the transition, what do you expect from him when it comes to press relations? >> well, judy, we're sort of going to wait and see right now. we're pleased to see and we congratulate the new members of donald trump's press team going into the white house and we look forward to working with them. certainly there have been some challenges between the media and the trump team during his campaign, but we've made a lot of progress during transition in working on that relationship and setting up a protective pool, for example. so i am cautiously optimistic that we will continue to make that progress once they're in the white house. >> woodruff: brian stelter, we know there has been attention on some difficulties between the
trump team and the news media. do you think it's been very different from other presidential nominees and people wove run for president and people who've served in the white house? >> on the surface, actually, there are a lot of similarities. there are transitions having daily conference calls with reporters, putting out press releases. donald trump has given a couple of interviews. he has not held a press conference in many months but given a couple of interviews. on the surface, donald trump continues to wage an anti-media war, a campaign against the press by complaining about the dishonesty of journalists, attacking different journalists and institutionons twitter, he's doing exactly the same sorts of things he was doing during his presidential campaign and reason to believe he'll continue once he's in the white house. he told me in june he would not be black listing reporters from the white house press briefing room, for example, he will make changes once in the oval office. but this anti-media campaign, i
think we should expect it to continue. >> woodruff: how concerned are you, jeff mason, about that? >> i call it cautious optimism. we're not naive about the challenges the press corps faces but i baset it on the fact we've made progress in the last several weeks since the ewill his excellency on setting up a protective pool, for example. you may remember shortly after the election president-elect trump came to washington without a pool of journalists. he went out for dinner one night in new york without a pool. since then, we've got a pool in place. it's not perfect. it's not on his plane, but we expect that to change once he's on air force one and we expect a full white house protective pool to be in place once he's in office. >> woodruff: brian stelter, the three of us understand this being part of the news media, but for the public watching, what are they to believe about what a president's real obligation is to the press? why shouldn't a president feel free to do whatever he wants, talk over the heads of the press, if he wants to.
>> yeah, we should do a better job as an industry explaining how press freedom is your freedom. it's the freedom of the viewers watching this program, that we are only there at the white house working for them and i know sometimes there is a disconnect, a grave disconnect, and we need to work to reestablish that connection. we're not in the business of making assumptions. we should not be assuming the worst about a trump presidency nor the best. journalists should not make assumptions. but journalism lawyers and advocates do have a sense of what the worst-case scenarios are. it doesn't mean black listing press from the white house news room which trump said will not happen. it could be auditing journalists, revoking fcc licenses, defunding public media, using the espionage act against journalists to prosecute them for investigative reporting. these are possible, not saying it's going to a happen, but certainly first amendment lawyers are focusing on these
issues now preparing for worst-case scenarios with trump, given how anti-media he has been during the campaign. >> woodruff: jeff mason, what would you describe what the president's obligation is to the news media? the first amendment talks about don't do anything to abridge freedom of the press, but what does that really mean today? >> well, certainly the way we view that is making it possible for reporters to do their jobs, and that means having access to the president himself, it means having access to his staff and not only his communications staff, but also other senior advisors, and that's something that the white house correspondents association will continue to press for and, honestly, judy, that's an issue we have been pushing for with every president, and there is always a little bit of tension there, regardless of what party the president comes from, there is always going to be a little bit of a tense relationship between the press and the administration, and we anticipate that, but we, to answer your question, certainly expect that upholding the rights and the freedoms that are guaranteed by the constitution
in that first amendment include allowing the press to do its job. >> woodruff: brian stelter, what does the president-elect's choice of these individuals to be in the press operation, his press secretary sean spicer, the others he's named in the communications office, what does that tell you about what his approach will be? other presidents have sometimes gone to a former journalist -- >> there is talk about a fox news host for example as press secretary or lorie ingram, the conservative talk radio host. instead he's going with a veteran of washington, sean spicer, well known in the press corps, will respond to e-mails and he can be combative, but he is going with someone who's a veteran and knows d.c. we should make no mistake, i respect jeff's cautious optimism. donald trump is different from modern times in presidents. the idea we've gotten from his
campaign is he will restrict access, attack and ridicule the press, and say things that are flatly untrue when it's obvious things are untrue. >> woodruff: let me ask about the treats tweets from the lect late this afternoon. he tweeted, "based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the lock hide martin f-335, i've asked boeing to have a comparable f-18 superhornet." so when he talks about the need for the united states to beef up its nuclear capabilities, what does this say in terms of the news media and its ability to, frankly, keep up with what this president is trying to do, this president-elect is trying to do? >> well, it is certainly the case that previous white houses, especially the obama white house with the age of social media, have used twitter and other bits of social media to get their message out, but president-elect
donald trump has taken that to a whole new level, and you're right to say how will the media adjust to that. so far, it's been an adjustment in terms of just reporting out those tweets when they come, and i think brian was right, too, when he talked about fact checking, and sometimes certainly the president-elect has tweeted things that are not correct and the media has for the most part tried to do its job of saying when that is the case, but it is a challenge and something that i think reporters and news organizations will be grappling with not just during the transition but in the months to come once he's working from the white house. >> he said he was going to be restrained with twitter once in the oval offers but we haven't seen that in this transition period. we've seen donald trump the same person he was in the 1980s doing deals, doing business in new york city, now doing it on the global stage. this contract for the f-35 was done years ago with the pentagon and lockheed martin.
it's going to take days to decipher what he's trying to say on twitter, but trying to create the sense of a bidding war, this is exactly what his voters wanted to see crump do and he's using twitter in an entirely new way to do it. sean spicer, new press secretary, says this will continue once trump is in the white house. we'll see about that idea that he's going to be more restrained once he's in charge. >> woodruff: brian stelter, jeff mason, thank you. >> thanks. >> sreenivasan: this week, washington, d.c. passed one of the most generous paid family leave laws in the country. the district now joins california, rhode island, new jersey and new york in approving such a measure. our economics correspondent paul solman has the story. it's part of our weekly series, "making sense," which airs thursdays on the newshour. >> reporter: diana alvord feels lucky. lucky that her daughter was born in september without
complication. lucky that she came home just days after she was born. because four years ago, alvord's son was born, prematurely, at just 24 weeks. >> we wondered for weeks and weeks if he would live. >> reporter: alvord, who kept vigil over him in the neonatal intensive care unit for months, also wondered how either of them could have endured the trial if she hadn't worked for an accommodating non-profit in washington, d.c. >> i was given the opportunity to just take a leave of absence, and so i was one of the few, probably, who could return to their jobs at the end of our ordeal. but, i know. >> reporter: unpaid, unpaid leave? >> unpaid leave. but i know that there are many people that isn't a choice that they have. most people have to go back to work. and it's really, an impossible choice that families face: do i stay here and hold my baby's hand? do i go to work and keep the roof over our heads? how do you put a price on whether you stay or go? >> reporter: many can't afford to take unpaid leave.
yet just thirteen percent of american private sector workers get any paid leave. alvord has seen the results. >> when i sat at his bedside in the n.i.c.u. very, very often i was alone. very often i would look around the room and there would be 20 babies in all their separate isolettes, and there weren't 20 sets of caregivers around them. >> reporter: the u.s. is the only industrialized country that does not mandate any paid family leave, giving the responsibility to states and cities, like the district of columbia. in d.c., supporters lobbied for a paid leave law for more than a year. >> this is an urgent thing for me personally. >> it's important that you pass >> reporter: but businesses and the mayor balked at the cost. >> ouncilmember silverman. >> yes. >> reporter: despite the backlash, though, this week d.c.'s city council passed a scaled-back version of the bill. >> the measure passes. >> reporter: this means d.c. parents who work in the private sector can now take eight weeks off at up to 90% of their pay,
funded by a roughly half-a- percent payroll tax on all non- government employers. and that, says heather boushey, who studies work-life balance, will be good for the local economy. >> it boosts our labor supply, especially among women and people who have care responsibilities, it increases job retention for people, people are more likely to keep their job when they actually have the tools to actually make it possible to balance all of these competing challenges in their daily life. and all of that means the economy is able to tap into that talent. >> reporter: true, says georgetown university economist harry holzer, but... >> there is a strong need to balance the benefits that workers and families get from paid family leave with the costs on employers. >> reporter: holzer worries the d.c. plan will hobble local businesses. >> they're providing 90% wage replacement up to close to $1,000 a week. you're giving the worker almost
no incentive to limit the amount of time they ask for. other states that have done this provide 60%, maybe 70%. >> reporter: but what would an employer do if it was too expensive--the cost was too high? >> employers can be quite ingenious in terms of figuring out ways to get the work done with fewer workers. another possibility is that employers simply might move across the river to arlington, virginia. keep in mind, in the state of virginia, no one is required to provide paid leave to employees >> reporter: but d.c. restaurant operator greg casten now will be. so will he skip town? >> you can't just pick up a restaurant and move it over the state line to avoid the tax because restaurants are, you know, the three most important things: location, location, and of course location. >> reporter: casten, who also co-owns a seafood supply company, complains the d.c. government already imposes a
host of costs on businesses, including a recent minimum wage hike. >> this just gives an idea of how many different laws an employer has to put up with. i'm not saying any of them on the face are bad, all i'm saying is, there's a lot, a lot and >> reporter: casten insists most employers will ultimately pass on the cost to the employees themselves. >> not getting the raise, maybe cutting the number of hours a week, maybe cutting some of your staff back so you have less people. >> reporter: but not every employer. >> for us it just really would be extremely helpful as a way to retain good employees. >> reporter: roger horowitz is the co-owner of pleasant pops, purveyor of popsicles and coffee. a major labor cost? employee turnover. >> between $2- and $3,000 is how much it costs us every time an employee leaves to train someone and to fill their position. >> reporter: that's more than
the $2,000 horowitz estimates the new family leave tax will cost him. plus, he will be able to offer a benefit he can't currently afford. horowitz himself returned to work just two days after the birth of his daughter in june. we have an employee who will in three months and will not be able to have paid leave because we don't have the financial resources to make that happen right now. >> reporter: so key for you is that this functions as an insurance policy. >> absolutely. being part of a larger pool and working with all the other small businesses and having all that money be administered by the city would be very helpful for us. >> reporter: so pleasant pops pays a small tax into the pool, like all the other firms in the city. and in return it's insured, so it can draw from the pool to cover its costs if its employees need family leave. but economist holzer worries other firms will be discouraged from employing low-income workers if they think they'd be
the most likely to take paid leave. >> they could simply cut back on less educated young women in the childbearing age and just replace them with other employees. they would presumably try to hire employees who would take less leave. so, for instance, young men of the same age are less likely to take leave because they're less likely to have custody of the kids or the men take leave less frequently. >> reporter: but restaurant server shanae bond illustrates just how vulnerable workers are as things currently stand. while pregnant with her daughter zane, bond's employer axed her. >> i believe i was taken off the schedule because i was pregnant. i think it was just easier to accommodate other servers wanting more hours. >> reporter: out of work, bond has gotten by only because her father moved in and helps with the bills. >> she's always held down a job. she's always paid her bills on time. she never really had to ask me or her mother for any help until
you know this pregnancy and i know it was hard for her to come to me and ask me to help her. >> reporter: as for diana alvord, that dangerously premature baby is now this fellow-- an imaginative four year old. alvord says the early days she spent at her son's side were critical to his development. >> children's outcomes are better if they have skin-to-skin contact, it's called kangaroo care, you do it in the n.i.c.u., and it's shown to lower babies' stress hormones, it's shown to regulate their heart rate, they are able to regulate their own body temperature sooner, their breathing is more regular and the economic argument part of it comes in when you think about the services and the care that the city would otherwise provide to these families and these children later on down the pipeline, rather than investing right at the first moment when you can make a greater impact from day one.
>> reporter: so, allow for paid >> reporter: and just look how far her son has come. >> we were told that it was in the single digits that he would even come out of his birth surgery without incredible complications like cerebral palsy and all sorts of things. we were lucky, maybe. or, or maybe we did all the things that there are out there to do. >> reporter: things more washingtonians will now be able to do, because of paid family leave. in washington, d.c., this is economics correspondent paul solman. >> woodruff: for many years, most businesses were closed on sundays in the u.s. but for many decades shopping on sundays has become the norm here. but in greece, it remains a major point of contention, pitting religious tradition against recent economic realities. special correspondent malcolm brabant reports.
>> reporter: in piraeus, greece's main port city, the churches are filled to bursting point as orthodox christians maintain traditions handed down the generations. here, sundays are for devotions to the saints, not for worshipping at the altar of profit. piraeus' bishop has condemned sunday shopping as an act of war with the church, but in saint evangalistra's father yiorgios yiorgakopoulos is more measured. >> ( translated ): we are of the opinion from a religious point of view that the sixth day of the week is provided to man for communication with god but also that attempts are being made to get rid of what we know as normal life. to try and turn us into robots and machines by making all the days the same, every day a working day-- all days without meaning. >> reporter: and this is the heart of piraeus' shopping district on a sunday morning. everything is firmly shuttered. but the international monetary fund believes it's time for this particular trade barrier to be lifted.
>> liberalizing the trade market will allow for small and medium enterprises to get an advantage in the market by allowing them to open on sundays. >> reporter: one man who'd like to use a sharp implement on what he regards as greece's restrictive trading practices is notis mitarakis a conservative opposition politician who used to be a development minister. >> allowing people to work is a fundamental right in our system of economy. in order to get out of the crisis the key parameter is to increase production, is to increase g.d.p. and anything that can help to that direction, anything that allows people who are willing and able to work, to get out and get into the market, is positive. >> reporter: this mall is a compelling memorial to the corpse that is the greek economy. it's on stadiou street, once athens most expensive shopping thoroughfare. it was never exactly fifth avenue, but before the crisis it was throbbing and thriving. greece's mom and pop businesses
have really taken a battering during this seven year long financial crisis. in all, a quarter of a million small and medium sized enterprises have closed down, throwing half a million people onto the streets and into the vast army of the unemployed. despite vigorous oppositions from trades unions and the church, shops were given permission to open for a handful of sundays each year at special times like christmas. but according to business leaders, this has made absolutely no difference at all to the level of trading. in its heyday, store holders would pay up to $1,500 a square feet for retail space on stadiou street. in amongst the boarded up shells of former businesses on stadiou, andreas papagiorgiou is clinging on, just for the sake of his 35 year old son who will inherit the shop. papagiorgiou has been here for 40 years and on the day we met, he had sold goods worth just 60 dollars. >> ( translated ): opening on a sunday so far has benefited nobody.
we're making a loss. we can't afford to bring in the staff because we can't pay them a sunday rate. >> reporter: this is ermou, now athens main retail street, on a sunday before christmas, which explains the large crowds. but many of them were just window shopping. people weren't over laden with christmas goodies. >> the sunday opening of course is creating more expenses to the companies because they have to pay 75% more to their employees for the sunday working compared to the other working days. therefore for the small sized companies, this is something they can't afford. >> reporter: vassilis korkidis is the head of the country's small business federation. korkidis claims sunday trading would only benefit multi national corporations and outlets like athens main mall, which he says can afford premium wages on a sunday. >> the life of a small or medium
sized entrepreneur is a nightmare. he has to live every day in order to pay taxes. we pay almost 65% of our turnover for taxes. the 35% left is not enough actually to run a business for your family to live and to buy growth. >> reporter: greece's plight was high on president obama's list of priorities when he visited athens just after the election. he made it clear that greeks deserves a break. >> in order to make reforms sustainable the greek economy needs the space to return to growth and start creating jobs again. the i.m.f. has said that debt relief is crucial. i will continue to urge creditors to take the steps needed to put greece on a path towards a durable economic recovery because it's in all of our interests that greece succeeds. >> reporter: greece's beleaguered prime minister
alexis tsipras has angered the country's creditors by repeatedly reneging on promises. >> ( translated ): the greek economy and our society, after seven whole years, cannot take any more austerity. >> reporter: but the european union, which has provided most of greece's bail out cash ignored the u.s. president. analyst nick malkoutzis believes that any recovery will be further delayed while the i.m.f. and european union disagree over what is the next step. >> the europeans are reluctant to provide the debt relief that greece needs because of political reasons. the i.m.f. is reluctant to back down on what it sees as the structural side which it thinks is very important moving forward. there's wrong and right on both sides. the problem is greece is caught between the two. the finance minister likened it to be being trapped between two elephants that were fighting and that's the reality for greece at the moment. >> reporter: the financial crisis may mean hardship that
will last a generation, but at st evangelistra's church theologian ilias liamis was resolute over the issue of sunday trading. >> ( translated ): this is an attempt to eradicate the better things in life-- the joy of meeting up with a friend ,the joy of having a day when your mind will not be occupied solely with numbers, cash and consumer goods, the concept of having a day to relax and rest one's soul. this concept seems to be considered as something that should no longer exist. the important thing here is that this is a challenge urging us to change the way we think. >> ( translated ): the crisis is basically a spiritual one. people themselves decide how they will live their lives, just as those older than us lived with less and were happy so will we learn to live with less money and still be happy. >> reporter: this woman is unburdening her troubles to saint spiridon. elsewhere millions of greeks are crying silent tears of anger at what they perceive as the
injustice of a never ending crisis. for the pbs newshour, i'm malcolm brabant in athens. >> sreenivasan: finally tonight, an author channeling his inner child through graphic novels. jeffrey brown sits down with gene luen yang, one of this year's macarthur genius award winners. >> i'm super excited to be here with you. my name is gene. >> brown: gene luen yang can seem like one of the kids himself. >> this is what i look like in real life. that is what i look like as a cartoon and this morning, what i'm going to do is i'm going to share with you about two things i love. >> brown: sharing things he loves is now part of his official job description: as the national ambassador for young people's literature, an honor given him by the library of congress earlier this year. and the two things he loves? comic books and coding.
we spoke recently as he visited stonewall middle school in manassas, virginia. >> i think they're so related. coding and writing stories, i feel like i use the same parts of my brain to do both. when you're making a comic what you do if you take a fairly complex storyline, you have to break it up into individual panels and coding is very much the same way. you take a complex concept and you break it up into individual lines, so it's all about taking the complex and breaking it into simple understandable pieces. >> brown: i don't think everybody thinks of it that way, thinks of the connection between writing and coding. >> i think there is a tendency in modern american culture to separate the science from the arts and to me it just feels like such a false dichotomy, you know. there are so many people who are interested in both, there are so many people pursuing both and who want to become good at both. >> brown: yang began drawing as a young child and creating comics and graphic novels by fifth grade. the son of chinese immigrants, he grew up in california,
majoring in computer science at u.c. berkeley with a minor in creative writing. he taught computer science at an oakland, california high school for 17 years before turning to full-time writing. in 2006, his "american born chinese" became the first graphic novel to be nominated for a national book award. and the two-volume "boxers and saints," about the boxer rebellion in china, also received a nomination, in 2013. what is it about comics, or graphic novels, that somehow works? because not everybody gets it, right? >> i love the combination of the visual with the text. and as a reader i just think the interplay between pictures and words can be so complex. you know, like in the hands of a really good cartoonist you can get some really amazing things out. >> brown: i see you with the kids and you play up the kind of insecurities that you had, right, you're very upfront about that. "i'm a nerd, i was this, i
was that." why? >> well first, because it's true! i think, this is what i realized as an adult, as somebody who has been doing comics for almost 20 years now, that self-doubt just never goes away. it's constantly with you and i think that's true for maybe not every creator but almost every creator. getting over that self doubt is huge and to realize that even adults have those issues, i think it's important. >> brown: he's been an advocate for diversifying the faces and stories of graphic novels, and made the chinese-american experience one of his main subjects. >> are you chinese? >> i'm from shanghai. >> growing up, i did go through a period when i really struggled with my own ethnic heritage. i remember being in late elementary school and junior high and realizing that who i was, the culture that i came from made me different from most of the kids around me and i think every kid goes through this period where you want to excise all the stuff that makes you different. it took me a really long time to
come to a place where i felt like i accepted myself as a chinese-american, and a lot of my work is about that, is about how you can build an identity out of two pieces that don't always easily fit together. >> brown: that connected with the students-- his avid readers, on this visit. >> you can be an outsider to different situation like different cliques and groups and sometimes it feels like that in life. >> reading is a great way of exploring the world, every ambassador picked a platform and the platform that i chose was "reading without walls" and by that i mean just getting outside your own comfort zones through books. one of the best things about books is that they give you a window into somebody else's mind, into somebody else's soul, so i'm challenging kids to read
books about people who aren't like them, who don't look like them or live like them, number two, read books about subject matter they might find intimidating. and, number three, read books in different sorts of formats, so if you've never read a graphic novel, you've never read a book in verse or even a chapter book, i want you to give it a try. so what i'm going to do now is show you what logo looks like on a modern computer. >> brown: even while taking on his duties as an ambassador for reading, gene yang continues to work on a variety of projects, including a graphic novel version of the television show, "avatar: the last airbender"... and a d.c. comics' new series about a chinese superman. coming up: a nonfiction graphic novel about race and sports. from manassas, virginia, i'm jeffrey brown for the pbs newshour. >> woodruff: and a news update: police in melbourne, australia,
have arrested seven suspects who allegedly planned a series of christmas day bomb attacks. officials said they were inspired by the islamic state group, and were set to attack three major sites. on the newshour online, "passengers" is a new space thriller about human colonists on a long voyage to a new home. and the movie plays on real mental health issues experienced by astronauts. you can find a review from our science team, but beware, it contains spoilers. all that and more is at pbs.org/newshour. >> sreenivasan: and that's the newshour for tonight. on friday, five gold rings! join us for a sing along of the twelve days of christmas with members of the military from around the globe. i'm hari sreenivasan. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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